World Premiere: “Put It Down” by Otis McDonald, John Patitucci and Mike Chiavaro

The Hard-Grooving Two-Bass Trio Comes Together for a Funky Bay Area Throwback

World Premiere: “Put It Down” by Otis McDonald, John Patitucci and Mike Chiavaro

The Hard-Grooving Two-Bass Trio Comes Together for a Funky Bay Area Throwback

John Patitucci recently teamed up with bassist Mike Chiavaro and drummer/producer Otis McDonald—best known as the the rhythm section of King Canyon—to create “Put It Down,” a five-minute funkfest that recalls such Bay Area icons as Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, and Tower of Power. The bubbling track pivots on Patitucci and Chiavaro’s dual bass line conversation, soon bolstered by McDonald’s deft drums and percussion, and augmented by his clavinet and saxophonist Daniel Casares’ twisty horn arrangement. The three shared their thoughts on their debut collaboration.

Patitucci offers, “After meeting Mike, who lives nearby, I heard what he and Otis did on the King Canyon record and loved it. Otis works out of Hyde Street Studios in the San Francisco, which is the old Wally Heider Studios, and growing up as a teenager in the Bay Area is a huge part of my musical roots. I told Mike we should do something together and he said Otis was coming east with some grooves he had prepared. We got together at Mike’s place and played over the different grooves and came up with ideas. At one point, Mike played a bottom part and I played a middle part, and then we alternated. We listened to each other and stayed out of each other’s way, based on the classic funk concept of interlocking parts and complimentary counterpoint. Otis took the track back to Hyde Street, where he added his funky drums, played some killer Herbie Hancock/Headhunters-style clavinet, and got saxophonist Daniel Casares to create an amazing horn arrangement in the style of Tower of Power. Then he sent the track back to me and asked me to solo over it on my 6-string. The whole process was a lot of fun. Collaboration is a great way to write because each person can come up with an idea that sparks ideas from the others.”

McDonald notes, “In December 2022, I was visiting my good buddy Mike Chiavaro in NY and he invited his new friend, who happens to be one of our musical heroes, John Patitucci, over to hang out, eat some food, and perhaps make some music. Not being in my studio in San Francisco, I had to work with what I had, so I pulled out some existing drum tracks of mine, and found some funky loops, and I just sat back and watched Mike and John jam with their basses over my drums. It was exhilarating to say the least. Then when I flew home, I took the tracks into my studio, chopped up the bass jams, found three really strong sections that could work for a full track, and then proceeded to re-record my drums and add new percussion. From there, I brought in one of my musical partners, Daniel Casares, to help me write some funked out horn parts in the spirit of the Tower of Power meets Herbie Hancock, to help give it a nod to the classic Bay Area jazz funk sound of the ’70s. The result is ‘Put It Down.’

Chiavaro adds, “John and I met in Sept 2022 in Hastings on Hudson. I was shocked to meet him at a tag sale in the town that my family and I had just moved to! We struck up a conversation and became fast friends. In the back of my mind I knew that I wanted to make music with him, but being that we’re both bass players, I didn’t know exactly how that would work. The more John and I hung out, the more I learned about his deep love for soul and R&B groove-based music. One day he was showing me some of his vintage basses and started playing Sly & the Family Stone and Tower of Power bass lines, and I was blown away. Fast forward a few months, my good friend and longtime musical collaborator, Otis McDonald was visiting and I threw out the idea of inviting John over to create some two-bass, interlocking grooves. A few days later we were making music in my home studio and the rest is history!”


Otis McDonald – drums, percussion, keys

John Patitucci – electric bass

Mike Chiavaro – electric bass

Daniel Casares – tenor and baritone sax

Mike Olmos – trumpet

Max Cowan – synth

Produced, mixed, and mastered by Otis McDonald

Written by Otis McDonald, John Patitucci, Mike Chiavaro, Daniel Casares

Artwork – John Sippel

Chris Jisi   By: Chris Jisi

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